Blog Archive

Friday, September 18, 2009

FW: USDA on Farm to School--Special Update

Greetings all,

Here’s additional follow up information on the farm to school pieces of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative of the USDA.

More good news!


Enjoy the weekend,



Subject: USDA on Farm to School--Special Update
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 06:26:53 -0700

Farm to School Routes

USDA on Farm to School--Special Update

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, a new campaign by the USDA, was launched this week to help more Americans understand where their food comes from and how they can support local food economies in their communities. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack explains the initiative on YouTube (a must see)!

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

Announcements Re: Farm to School

Tuesday, September 14th was designated as Farm to Institution Day at USDA. As part of Farm to Institution Day, USDA made the following exciting and welcome announcements related to Farm to School:
1) BID LOCAL: The use of geographic preference in a bid will be expanded to include diced, chopped, and sliced product. The timeline on implementation is somewhat unclear and the exact language has not yet been developed. We'll keep you posted!
2) MONEY TO BUY LOCAL: USDA is encouraging the use of $50 million of existing Department of Defense Fresh funds to be targeted for the purchase of locally produced fruits and vegetables. Both USDA and DoD will be working on implementation of this program - the specifics are not yet defined.
3) FARM TO SCHOOL TACTICAL TEAMS: Per USDA, "Farm-To-School Tactical Teams will soon begin touring America’s school cafeterias to identify challenges and opportunities to help them transition to purchasing more locally grown foods. The team will work with local farmers, local and state authorities, school districts, and community partners to develop Farm-To-School projects and provide assistance on the best ways to buy more local produce for the National School Lunch Program. USDA will partner with schools, the U.S. Department of Education and non-profits to develop and enhance these resources." The team will be developed by an intra-agency group within the Department. They hope to begin visiting cafeterias in 2010, and they will release more specifics as the program develops.
4) MONEY FOR KITCHENS: The existing USDA Community Facilities Program supports the success of rural communities by providing loans and grants for the development of community kitchens. As explained in Deputy Merrigan's recent memo, producers are eligible for $31 million in remaining Recovery Act funds to build processing centers which will help grow their businesses in rural areas.These funds can be used to purchase school kitchen equipment in some cases. For more information go here: These funds are only available for a limited time, so act now!
The National Farm to School Network will send additional updates as information becomes available.
Check out the media covering Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.

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